Beam me up: T.J. gets the call again

Former Ole Miss pitcher T.J. Beam got the call back up to the New York Yankees Sunday night. He will be in Arlington, Texas, for tonight's Rangers-Yankees game. Also, it's a busy week for Ole Miss sports as SEC Media Days kicks off the season and two Rebels enter the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

T.J. Beam's back with the New York Yankees. He got the call Sunday night.

T.J.'s family loves Oxford and they get back when they can. For a family that lives in Arizona, that's quite often. Some of them have been back three or four times this calendar year already.

T.J.'s mom, Debbie, makes the trip more often than most of them. In mid-June she was in Oxford visiting when T.J. got his first call to head to D.C. from Triple A Columbus, Ohio, to join the big Yanks.

Beam, who pitched at UM in 2002 and 2003, spent the better part of three weeks with the big club but was sent back down to Columbus on July 8.

Debbie was in town the past few days to attend the wedding of Ole Miss radio's Richard Cross to Jane Easley. She mentioned almost jokingly that she was hoping T.J. would get the call back up to the big club this weekend since last month when she was here that's exactly what happened.

Last night Debbie was riding back to Oxford from Taylor Grocery with the Trainer family who she visits when in Oxford. Her cell phone rang and it was T.J.

"I'll be in Arlington Monday night," he told her.

So the Beams are back in the big leagues as T.J.'s career continues some interesting twists and turns in the summer of 2006.

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It will be a busy week. You can feel August from here. It's that close.

I used to say July 5 was the start of football season. I delay that a bit now. Baseball season almost runs that deep into the calendar year – and hopefully deeper in the seasons ahead.

By about the last week of July, you know it's just around the corner. After 100-plus temps in Oxford last week, there's even been a bit of a fall-like nip in the morning air as the highs have dropped to a "cool" low 90s for a few days.

Ole Miss is one of four teams on stage Thursday at SEC Media Days in Birmingham. The event is just a couple of miles from the Hoover Met where the diamond Rebs put on a show in late May and brought home the hardware.

But this week it's all about football just south of Birmingham, and the eyes of the country will be on the SEC.

Our attention will be focused on Coach Ed Orgeron and players Robert Lane and Patrick Willis.

Lane and Willis will be great representatives for Ole Miss. I can't think of two better players on the squad to lay it all out for them as the media asks away.

On Friday in Jackson a couple of important events will take place. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for this year include two Rebels – current men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick and former Rebel football star Raymond Brown.

If you live in the Jackson/Central Mississippi area and don't want to get all dressed up for the reception and banquet Friday night, I highly suggest visiting the Hall of Fame Saturday morning between 9:30 and noon. The Hall's home, located next to Smith-Wills Stadium and the Ag Museum, is now 10 years old. A lot of former Hall of Fame inductees, some of them with Ole Miss ties, are supposed to be on hand Saturday morning to visit with fans and museum-goers and to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

No telling who you might see there, and it will likely be worth your effort to attend.

Also on Friday the Saints kick off preseason training camp at Millsaps. There are a lot of NFL fans in Mississippi, and over the years folks in this state have made their picks as to which team they'll root for. The Giants and Cowboys are likely in the top three and are two of the NFL's most successful franchises.

But it's probably the Saints, even with all their losing, who've won the most hearts in Mississippi. Locality has something to do with it. Archie had a lot more.

It's been well documented that if the Saints are to remain in New Orleans, they have to become a true Gulf South region team. It's not the only reason they are in Jackson for a month, but it's one of them.

The Saints report they've sold a club record 55,000 to 60,000 season tickets. All things considered that's unbelievable to me, but great. Some folks somewhere have stepped up and said the Saints are worth keeping around in our region.

Deuce McAllister and McKinley Boykin are on the Saints roster. Seems like there's always been a Rebel or two on the roster of the Saints through the years.

The Giants still lead with more former Ole Miss Rebels – 30 – than any other NFL franchise. But the Saints with 28 are right behind them.

So for a few weeks now, pretty much since the Miami Hurricanes baseball team left town in June, we've been waiting for things to pick up. Looks like it's about to get busy around here again.

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